A Light at the End of the Summit
Although at times attending a U.N. summit like the current one in Poland can feel like a treadmill -- lots of effort with very little perceived progress -- there are always inspirations and opportunities to be found in its midst.
The official COP process this week has felt a little bit like running on a treadmill. No matter how fast you feel you've been moving, the whole thing never seems to have gone very far.
That said, I feel partially responsible for a news stream out of COP this year that has gone from bleak to bleaker. True, the negotiations may get us little more than a schedule of meetings for the next year, during which time much progress will have to be made before Copenhagen. At the same time, given the U.S. presidential purgatory we're in for the next month or so, it's hard to think we could have expected a whole lot more. So, in the spirit of the holidays, I think it's worth taking a moment to pause and consider what we in the climate community have to be thankful for.
First, COPs are proof that there is a brain trust of incredibly talented and passionate people who have dedicated their lives' work to solving the climate crisis. It's impossible to be here and not see what almost seems like an ecosystem of interest groups from various niches and perspectives, working overtime to help to keep the process balanced and thriving.
For those in green business, this is not only an inspiration, but an opportunity.
Today for example, I attended a side event about a new tool called CarbonFlow, a web-based solution that would help project developers like EcoSecurities streamline and simplify the process of developing projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the world. Project developers speaking at the side event expressed hope that the new tool could potentially save project developers and independent third party verifiers millions of dollars, hundreds of man hours, and reams of paperwork.
Second, at the receptions, cocktail hours, and other social events, there are dozens and dozens of entrepreneurs and businessfolk representing new tools, technologies, and approaches to solving climate change. While not the main purpose of COP, it certainly is a unique opportunity to be surrounded by and connected to the very people who might have the next great climate solution brewing in their head.
I heard someone from the U.S. delegation say today that in this process, it is key to have a continuum of capabilities and circumstances. This statement rings true not only for the negotiations, but also for the business community and other attendees looking on. Having attended COP for just two years now, I can attest to the fact that the continuum of green business colleagues from Bali to Poznan is gaining steam, and I look forward to seeing both familiar and new faces again next year.
In addition, Pozna? is only a step to Copenhagen, and Copenhagen is only a step to solving climate change. While it sometimes feels like the Bali roadmap to get us there has us going in circles, I am heartened and humbled being surrounded here by people who I know will help us find the way.
Aimee Barnes is senior manager of U.S. regulatory affiars at EcoSecurities.